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Southern Leyte Governor dismissed for purchase of ‘old’ vehicles

MANILA, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal of Southern Leyte Gov. Damian Mercado over the alleged anomalous procurement of three second-hand vehicles when he was mayor of Maasin City in 2007.

In a resolution recently approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, Mercado was found guilty of grave misconduct. He faces charges for graft and violation of the Government Reform Procurement Act before the Sandiganbayan.

The ombudsman also ordered Mercado’s perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of his civil service eligibility and forfeiture of his retirement benefits.

Bids and awards committee chairman Crispin Arong Jr., BAC vice chairman Feorillo Demeteri Jr. and members Anecito Narit, Benjase Lumen and Consuelo Ladrera as well as Baltazar Avila Sr. of Kojac Auto Supply and Repair Shop will be named respondents in the cases to be filed against Mercado.

 Investigation showed Mercado approved the purchase of a reconditioned Mitsubishi Pajero, an Isuzu Wizard and a Toyota Grandia worth P2.3 million from Kojak. Graft probers said Mercado sold the Toyota Grandia to Avila in November 2006 for P390,000.

The ombudsman said the vehicles were more than 10 years old at the time the city government bought them.

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The remaining useful life of the vehicles is below the standards prescribed under Department of Budget and Management Circular 446-A, the court said.

“Whether the vehicles are in good condition, still functioning properly or has been refurbished is not considered material in determining their remaining useful life,” the court ruling stated.  

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